The House Minority bloc in the House of Representatives won’t endorse an impeachment complaint vs. President Benigno Aquino 3rd over Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.’s allegations that the Chief Executive tried to ensure Revilla will vote for the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona for betrayal of public trust.
Party-list Reps. Silvestre Bello 3rd of 1-BAP party-list and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna made the pronouncement in connection with the claims made by Revilla in a privilege speech that the President set a meeting with him in the Palace to ensure that Revilla will vote for the conviction of Corona for undeclared wealth.
Revilla made the speech as he is facing a P224 million plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman over the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
“His allegations are serious, but so far, they are uncorroborated so I would say such [speech]is not ripe for an impeachment complaint. If the same claims were to be made by other Senator-judges of the Corona trial, then that would be the one dangerous,” Bello, a lawyer, said in a press conference.
“We can’t just take the word of Senator Revilla as the basis [for impeachment complaint],” Bello, who served as Justice Secretary during the Arroyo administration, added.
Zarate agreed that Revilla’s claims won’t be enough to constitute an impeachment complaint, but stressed that President Aquino should apologize for the impropriety of his meeting with Revilla, one of the Senator-Judges during the Corona impeachment trial.
The President has admitted to meeting with Revilla and three other Senator-judges namely: Jinggoy Estrada, Teofisto Guingona 3rd and Ralph Recto. Estrada is from United Nationalist Alliance, while Guingona and Recto belong to the Liberal Party chaired by President Aquino.
The Chief Executive, however, denied that he influenced the Senator-judges and argued that he was just trying to verify reports that the Senator-judges are also being pressured by various sectors.
“He should apologize [for the meeting with Senator-judges]. No matter how you look at it, it is unsettling that he met with the judges because from the beginning, he was very open that he wants Corona ousted from office. That is clear influencing,” Zarate added. LLANESCA T. PANTI